Mangalore, September 17: Agriculture Minister Krishna Byre Gowda, chairing a review meeting at Dakshina Kannada Zilla Panchayat in Kottara on September 16th, reminded that the department is not a sales agency, but it is an extension of the government. The department ought to provide sophisticated technology, improved breeds and mechanisation to peasants.
The minister said the district has got additional six to seven staff so that they can work in Raitha Samparka Kendra (RSK) and officials can spend more time in the field. There are around 40 farmer facilitators and if required, the government is ready to give refreshment training to them. Gradually, the district will get more staff in future.
He said that, there is no room for shortage of staff. The government has also directed various university research centres of the state to conduct specific research on new paddy breeds for Malnad and coastal districts. If the officials design special programmes with the co-ordination of Self Help Groups (SHG) the department will surely respond.
The minister also said that subsidies won’t help farmers the farmers. Kerala model packages would work only as incentives. In other districts, in every acre, farmers grow an average 35 to 40 quintals of paddy, but in DK, it is just around 16 quintals. Though the environment is different, with the help of modern technologies and improved breeds the yield can be hiked to at least 25 quintals. Without their effort, the agriculture department officials can’t pass on their responsibility to the shoulders of government, he said.
The President of DK Zilla Panchayat , Asha Timmappa Gowda, herself a farmer said that in the district, it is difficult to store water in the sand mixed soil. There are more number of petty land holders for whom transforming to mechanisation is not so easy. If the district gets more check dams and machineries like harvesters for rent, it would be easy to grow biannual crops.
The Minister suggested that check dams can be built using Mahatma Gandhi National Employment Guarantee (MGNEG) schemes.
Krishna Byre Gowda in response to a query said that, the farmer facilitators in the district are not much exposed and he directed the officials to arrange training programmes to all facilitators and exposure tours to other districts. They should gain field knowledge not only through academics, but also by experienced farmers.
Subhodh Yadhav, Agriculture Department District Commissioner suggested the senior officials of the department to give first priority to field work.
In this meeting, Health and Family Welfare Minister U T Khader, MLA Mohiddin Bava, Deputy Commissioner A B Ibrahim, Watershed Department Commissioner Shivananda Murthy, ZP CEO Tulasi Maddineni, Standing Committee President of Agriculture and Industry Balakrishna Suvarna, Joint Director of Agriculture Department Kempegowda were present.
During this meeting, farmers and officials were seen in considerable numbers.